Touring Montecito’s Sacred Spaces

Jack and Rose Herschorn, the owners of the Summerland store, The Sacred Space, and self-described “travelers who search the globe for items of meaning,” are sponsoring a tour this weekend of five Montecito gardens. On Sunday (May 20), homeowners will open up their garden gates for an afternoon tour whose proceeds will benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Every garden has an installation that originated in The Sacred Space showroom. No exception is the Herschorns’ one-acre Montecito parcel, where they’ve lived for the past 14 years and one of the tour’s five stops.

Like much of the inventory at their store, the Hershorns’ property is a design and spiritual tribute to the dominant influences of Indonesian architecture, in addition to those of 19th century Europe.

Entrance to their private, secluded world begins through a characteristic Indonesian village split gate that opens onto a koi pond and serenity pavilion amidst a scene of rock- and waterscapes and Southeast Asian vegetation integrated within a vintage South Coast setting.

Rock bridges and bark-covered trails lead visitors throughout the Herschorns’ “sacred space” to a sand garden, with a bas-relief contemporary Balinese sculpture and a promontory overlooking the entirety of the garden. A glance in another direction will direct you to a small grove of fruit trees and a chicken coop, your eyes surely to be distracted by aesthetic and whimsical details at every turn.

The other gardens repeat these same themes with the same level of intricate devotion: meditation palapas with their thatched roofs; nature’s busy intersections of meticulous rock formations bordering placid ponds; and abundances of space designed for the pleasure of outdoor comfort and contemplation.

At one of the homes, the owners said when they purchased their property 19 years ago, the “motif” was “Wild West.” They quickly transformed it into an appropriate “Far East” layout by removing eucalyptus trees and planting Japanese maple trees, timber bamboo and acacias.

These “sacred spaces” are a testament to each owner’s ardor for detail and strength of mind.

The tour takes place Sunday, May 20, beginning at 1:30 pm and culminating with a reception at The Sacred Space, 2594 Lillie Avenue, in Summerland, for wine tasting and food. Everyone who purchases a ticket will automatically be entered to win a rare treasure valued at $500 from the shop.

Tickets for The Sacred Space Montecito Garden Tour are $65 each. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your tickets soon by calling Diane Durst at 805-967-5741, ext. 104. For more information about this event and the Santa Barbara County Foodbank call 805-967-5741 or go to www.foodbanksbc.org.